Since we’ve been remote our tutoring attendance has dropped significantly. I’m getting a significant amount of pressure to increase numbers. We’ll be exclusively online for the foreseeable future. I’m not really sure what else I can try. I don’t know if the problem is technology, students not understanding how to connect, or something else.
Like everyone we had to make a fast transition and implement technology that was currently available. We started with GoToMeeting with open links on our website for group tutoring for the remainder of winter term. We moved to MS Teams for the summer semester which we felt was an improvement. We set it up so there was only one link and all the tutoring channels were accessible through that link. It also allowed us a better way to track attendance, which was manual with GoToMeeting. We’re moving to Zoom for fall, but have yet to get the licenses to figure it out.
To add to the fun, the Learning Commons was created in May 2019. Tutoring was “stolen” from student services and put under the library on the academic side of campus. We consolidated four parts of departments to create the Learning Commons and developed entirely new models – from positions to organizational structure to types of tutoring we provide. I had people across campus hoping I’d fail because of what they lost. I’ve been under significant pressure to put up big numbers to prove that this was the right move by administration. The new models began in Fall, but key staff weren’t in place until Dec/Jan. I just hit my 1 year anniversary as the Director and have 4 supervisors reporting to me who are all newer than me. When we left campus I had three lead tutors with less than 3 months in the job and at least 50% of their peer tutors were less than 2 months in their roles. We hadn’t yet gotten to the point of being able to evaluate if the new ideas were working or not. I didn’t inherit any tutor training processes or materials. Most of my role has been making it up as I go along and trying to put out the most immediate fires.
For outreach, we’ve:
· Called all students who attended tutoring in the center during the winter and fall.
· Emailed the entire student body.
· Emailed all advisors and counselors.
· Done social media posts (I don’t think we have a large student following here).
· Provided faculty with flyers and announcements to put in their online courses.
We do not have a center management software for attendance that works online. On campus were using a home grown system that was client based. I do not currently have access to our student data – so I can’t pull lists of specific students.
My questions are:
· What is your attendance?
Have you changed platforms since going online?
· Do you think your platform impacts attendance?
· What outreach are you doing to students?
· What student success data do you have access to and how do you use it?
This is a lot, I know. But I appreciate anything you’re willing to offer. At this point I’m concerned that my budget will be cut to match our current attendance and we’ll never recover the budget we had when we left campus.
Victoria J Bennett
Director, Learning Commons / Washtenaw Community College
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